Tampere: Making heritage housing more energy efficient

Tampere, Finland

Tampere supports actions to make its heritage housing more energy efficient while assisting young people to gain the technical skills needed to carry out these works.

In Finland, any large refurbishments of a house must be accompanied by measures to make it more energy efficient. This creates difficulties for elderly people who live in Tampere’s heritage housing because of the shortage of skilled labour and because modern materials are not always compatible with heritage houses. Moreover, all residents of heritage housing experience high energy costs and energy inefficient buildings negatively affect the environment. 

To tackle these problems, the ‘Tampere Region Built Heritage Association’ was founded. The association acquired an old Timber Floater’s house in the Pispala district, which is being renovated to create an exhibition centre to demonstrate renovation techniques for heritage housing. The association trains unemployed young people in energy efficiency improvements. The idea is that these young people find employment following the training as residents of heritage houses realise that it is possible to make their homes more energy efficient. This in turn creates jobs for the people who have these specialist skills. An online forum has been set up to link people who have the expert skills with potential clients.

Originally published by EUROCITIES, the network of 130 European cities - PDF: http://nws.eurocities.eu/MediaShell/media/353-green-web_final.pdf


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City information
City
Tampere

Size and population development
223.238 (as of 2015). Third largest city in Finland and most populous scandinavian inland city

Main functions
second-largest urban area and third most-populous individual municipality in the country

Main industries / business
mechanical engineering and automation; information and communication technologies; health and biotechnology; paper industry

Political structure
Mayor-council governement system

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Background and objectives

Finnish national regulation states that any large refurbishments of a house must be accompanied by measures to make it more energy efficient. This creates difficulties for elderly people who live in Tampere’s heritage housing. To continue living independently in these houses they often need to make them more accessible and easier to maintain. For example, they may need to increase the size of a bathroom or toilet. These additional energy efficiency measures are difficult to fulfil because of the shortage of skilled labour and because modern materials are not always compatible with heritage houses. It is also difficult to get information on how to make these buildings more energy efficient whilst preserving their value.

In addition to the issue faced by the elderly, all residents of heritage housing experience high energy costs and energy inefficient buildings negatively affect the environment. Younger Tampere residents prefer to live in newer houses; yet building new homes creates more waste than refurbishing old ones.

These trends threaten the city’s built heritage, which suffers from under investment and could face demolition. There are only about 150,000 buildings in the whole country built before 1920 so it is very important to preserve them for future generations.

Implementation

Initially, a ‘Tampere Region Building Heritage’ project was set up. It brought together organisations, schools, training centres, professionals and enterprises to find new ways to repair the heritage buildings, whilst preserving their value. The project was managed by Ekokumppanit Oy (EcoFellows Ltd), a non-profit enterprise co-owned by the city of Tampere.

 The project included:

  • exhibitions and workshops to encourage people to maintain the heritage buildings; showing a range of solutions and raising awareness on the value of the old houses
  • an online database on different methods for making heritage housing more energy efficient
  • teaching people to carry out some small scale repairs themselves, such as sealing the windows

In order to make the project’s results sustainable the ‘Tampere Region Built Heritage Association’ was founded, which brings together public education organisations, private enterprises and NGOs. The association acquired an old Timber Floater’s house in the Pispala district, which is being renovated to create an exhibition centre to demonstrate renovation techniques for heritage housing. As an association it can provide services paid for by the city but can also apply for other sources of funding to carry out actions and initiatives. The association trains unemployed young people in energy efficiency improvements. They gain practical skills in repairs and making houses more energy efficient. Some use the opportunity to get their diploma, which can be done with practical work and a short report in Finland.

Through showing the residents that these buildings can be made more energy efficient it creates employment and means that older residents can remain living in their homes.

Financing and resources

The ‘Tampere Region Building Heritage’ project was funded by the ERDF and the Finnish government (69, 3%), the city of Tampere (27, 7%), and Ekokumppanit Oy (EcoFellows Ltd.) (3%).

The ‘Tampere Region Built Heritage Association’ gets funding from a range of sources: grants, membership fees, ticketed events and the sale of booklets and cards. This is in addition to the services paid for by the city. The Finnish National Board of Antiquities provided €30,000 towards the renovation of the old Timber Floater’s house.

Results and impacts

In 2013, 1,262 people attended various meetings and events and the online database had around 1,000 visits per month. As a result of this programme residents of the heritage houses are better informed about how to carry out repairs and are able to find skilled labourers. This empowers them to remain in their homes instead of moving to care homes.

More than 10 young people have been involved in the renovation works of the old Timber Floater’s house. One young person started an enterprise, which provides consultations and repair works for heritage housing. 

The project helps preserve the old heritage housing of the city for future generations and the repairs do not affect the environment as much as building new houses. Making the buildings more energy efficient is positive for the environment and decreases people’s energy bills.

Lessons learned and transferability

In Green Jobs for social inclusion (see references), EUROCITIES identifies three main factors that contribute to the success of these city initiatives to create green jobs for social inclusion at the local level.

They are:

1. Combining demand and supply side interventions:  an intervention does not solely focus on developing people’s competences, skills and motivation (supply side intervention) but also aims to create a tangible route into the labour market (demand side intervention).

On the demand side, the programme's objective is to provide a ‘protected’ working environment with the view of supporting people to gain real work experience to enable them to compete in the mainstream labour market.

These demand side interventions are then complemented by well-matched activation and training measures (supply side interventions) helping people to gain specific skills and improve their chances of accessing the labour market.

2. Linking the interventions to local employment opportunities

The second success factor is the strong link between the programmes and local employment opportunities. Cities as the level of government closest to the people have an in-depth knowledge of their local labour markets. They can design programmes in line with local economic demand and prepare people for jobs that are available locally. The effectiveness of the demand and supply interventions is made stronger when they are grounded in local businesses and job market needs.

3. Tailoring activation measures to the specific needs of people

The third success factor of the programmes is linking the activation measures to the specific needs of the target groups.

For local authorities, programmes that combine greening and social inclusion bring added value, particularly during periods of budgetary constraint and growing demand for services. Integrated programmes that address several objectives with one investment bring efficiency to local interventions. Given the longer term perspective of the sector, linking job seekers to local jobs in the green economy should continue to bring results as the sector is set to grow.

More information on the success factors: http://nws.eurocities.eu/MediaShell/media/green_jobs_for_social_inclusion_intro_FINAL.pdf

References

"Local strategies to implement national energy efficiency schemes", in Green Jobs for social inclusion, EUROCITIES, June 2015, 32-33.


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